Many people wonder, “Why should I do yoga?” And while this is an individual question, I think it’s important to understand what the point of the practice is before deciding to make it a part of your life.
In my last blog about Hatha yoga in Berlin, I talked a bit about the current “trendy nature” of yoga and why there seem to be so many yoga styles on offer. But the true goal of Yoga is to bring the practitioner into a state of perfect peace with themself and with the world. This cannot be achieved overnight. And so, to approach this goal, one spends a lifetime practicing this discipline. Although perfect peace is the most difficult state to attain, it is said that everyone can approach it through a sincere practice of yoga.
As mentioned in my previous blog, originally there were four different types of yoga created. These different types were created so that people were able to practice the kind of yoga that best fits them as an individual. The four original yogas are: Njana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga.
The Njana yoga practitioners use the intellect to attain a state of inner peace. Their whole practice is about analyzing the world around them, and distinguishing what is real from illusion. This yoga is the best kind for people who have a need to intellectualize everything about the world.
The Karma Yoga practitioners strive to attain the inner peace state through action (Karma being the Sanskrit word for “action” or “to do”). Their practice is based on taking positive action without being attached to the fruits of one’s deeds. This kind of yoga is best for those who need to live an active life and keep themselves constantly busy.
The Bhakti Yoga practitioners use their emotions in order to attain their yogic goal. Bhakti is the yoga of devotion. This kind of yoga is said to be the best for people who are of an emotional nature and need to sublimate their emotions in order to attain inner peace. This yoga would concentrate on rituals, symbols, chanting. It is said that by doing so the practitioners channel their emotions to a higher state of being.
Raja yoga practitioners try to attain peace through meditation. But in order to sit down and meditate one must not only learn how to control the mental fluctuations but also to have a fit body that can manage to sit motionless with no pain for an hour. To be able to do the latter Hatha Yoga was created. This is the only type of yoga from the original ones that focuses on the physical body. I teach this kind of yoga because it addresses the body, mind and energy levels of the practitioner throughout his/her self-exploration towards inner peace.